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Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2019, 3(7): 43-56 Back to browse issues page
Banquet Beaker; Interpreting an Ancient Object on the Base of Pottery Beakers from Mala Mcha, Kani Koter and Hasanlu
Amir Saed Mucheshi 1, Iraj Rezaie2, Abdolreza Mohajery-Nezhad3, Eqbal Azizi4
1- Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Architecture, School of Art and Architecture, Payam-e Noor University, Tehran, Iran.. , saedmucheshi@gmail.com
2- Ph.D. in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
3- Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology History Period, Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Tehran, Iran.
4- Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Kurdistan Province, Kurdistan, Iran
Abstract:   (6887 Views)
Among the ancient motifs from Iran and Mesopotamia, some pictures showing special shaped beakers can be seen but unfortunately no explicit comment has been made on the nature and function of these forms by researchers. Recently, 7 pottery beakers have been found in a Mannaean cemetery (Mala Mcha) and and Iron Age grave (Kani Koter) in northwestern Iran and authors are believed that their shape and possible function are compatible with some of these ancient motifs dating back from the third millennium B.C. to the Achaemenid period. A glazed beaker from Tepe Hasanlu which belongs to Iron Age II also has the same characteristics as the Mala Mcha and Kani Koter examples. Considering the symbolic meaning of the Lotus flower in ancient cultures, as well as their form and decoration, it seems that the Mala Mcha, Kani Koter and Hasanlu pottery beakers have a special application. Previously some researchers in some cases have interpreted these motifs as a Barsom (Barsam) or flower (often lotus). The authors propose that these objects that can be seen on ancient reliefs or ivories are simple or painted beakers equivalent to the clay beakers unearthed in these sites. Probably this type of beaker was not used as normal container, but it seems to have been utilized by high-level people during special events and banquets perhaps for drinking prized liquids. In addition, it seems that the samples of the Mala Mcha, Kani Koter and Hasanlu in terms of shape and possible there function, are comparable with some of the patterns of the motifs discussed in this paper. The grave of Kani Koter is rich and belonged to a warrior of high status. Also the graves of Mala Mcha which had pottery beakers were richer than other graves, and it seems that the users of them have superior position over others. The glazed beaker of Hasanlu was as well as obtained from a room with local and Mesopotamian specimens in a special room. In ancient motifs, users of these objects have a superior social position than others. In this paper, in addition to comparing the shape of the beakers of Mala Mcha, Kani Koter and Hasanlu with the remaining ancient motifs, Chromatography experiments were carried out which unfortunately, did not receive any laboratory data on its application.
Keywords: Pottery Beaker, Banquet, Mala Mcha, Kani Koter, Hasanlu, Ancient Motifs.

Archaeological excavation in 2012 at the Mala Mcha Cemetery near the ancient Mannaean site of Ziwiye in Kurdistan province, a number of very interesting pottery beakers were found which, according to the authors, seems to be the objects depicted in the images of ancient motifs from the third millennium BC until the Achaemenid era in the Middle East and Iran. Examples of these motifs are presented in the papers.
From Mala Mcha cemetery, five pottery beakers were found with a narrow body, and a large mouth that three beakers were identified from grave No. 5. Another two beakers is excavated from grave No. 7. The graves of 5 and 7, those containing these beakers are richer than others. The special shape of these beakers shows that they have probably had a special function. The painted beakers have a petal shape similar to lotus flowers. These potteries are often have a fine temper, well-fired, burnished, wheel-made and are comparable with Ziwiye potteries. The Garve of Kani Koter is located in the near of Mala Mcha and its tomb was destroyed by illegal excavator. The burial goods of it is rescued by Cultural Heritage of Kurdistan province. In Kani Koter grave 2 blue glazed beaker obtained which resemble to plain beakers of Mala Mcha. Different objects were obtained from this grave that indicating its richness that its artifacts is dated to Iron Age III.
In addition to these pottery beakers, a glazed pottery from the Burned Building II of Hasanlu (Iron Age II) also has a form and decorations that are almost identical to the pottery beakers of Mala Mcha and Kani Koter. In addition to these beakers, a number of glazed terracotta jars are also identified in the same layer that depicted them in Assyrian reliefs. Hasanlu’s sample is also one of the few glazed pottery that is of high quality and obtained with ivory and special objects, and it is believed that these objects are derived from the cultic context of Burned Building II of Hasanlu. The shape, motifs and the place of Hasanlu’s glazed beaker are indicative of its importance. The Excavator of Hasanlu believes that this beaker is made in the Solduz region, although it’s very similarity with objects from neighboring areas. 
It should be noted that the similarity between the burial goods of the Mala Mcha’s finds with the Mesopotamia and Iran is not limited to beakers and visible in other objects. A number of Mala Mcha vessels are similar to the Pasargadae and Assyrians potteries and artifacts of Kani Koter is resemble to Urartian, Assyrian and Mannaean samples. In Hasanlu’s excavation, various objects have been compared with the images of neighboring areas, and in particular the Assyrian. 

Ancient Motifs and Interdisciplinary Test 
In the ancient motif of the Mesopotamia and Iran sometimes a picture of a particular object is seen that used by some high-ranking people or gods, which has so far not been accurately detected about its nature and application. This object, often with a narrow body and a wide mouth, has a length of at least one beaker which according to the authors of this article can be a picture of a beaker. This image (beaker) is seen from the third millennium BC to the middle of the first millennium BC but in the first millennium BC is more. In this paper some ancient motifs with resemble picture like a seal impression from Tell Asmar that belong to third millennium BC, an ivory from Nimrud (1000-850 BC), Assyrian wall relief from Tiglath-Pilesar III from Nimrud have been compared. Among the palace reliefs of the Assyrian period; Sargon II (722-705 BC), there are similar motifs. In this motif, there is a banquet subject that is used this beakers, although its beaker is not exactly the same with the samples obtained from western Iranian excavations. Similar discussed beaker is seen in the Esarhaddon stone stele from Zanjirli. Some of the images in the following periods like Persepolis’s plain beakers which is seen in the hands of elite Persian and Median nobles on the East and north side of the Apadana is resemble to pottery beakers. These images are also presented as flowers. The similar picture is also seen in the rock-cut tombs of Qizqapan. To understand the function and the type of material used in the beakers of Mala Mcha, a chromatographic test was performed on them, which unfortunately did not produce the data that indicated their use. 

In some ancient motifs in the Mesopotamia and Iran from the third millennium BC to the Achaemenid period, a picture of a beaker-like object is seen in the hands of the gods and high-ranking people. These objects are depicted in important places or on important objects such as ivory. According to the authors, the similarity of the five pottery beakers from Mala Mcha graveyard and tow similar beakers form the tomb of Kani Koter, as well as a sample of beaker from Tepe Hasanlu IV could be considered as suitable samples for the type of function of these vessels. The motifs are also reminiscent of the role of the Lotus flower, a symbolic flower in the Middle East. The use of painted beakers that is the same can be seen reminder of Lotus flowers.
Keywords: Pottery Beaker, Banquet, Mala Mcha, Kani Koter, Hasanlu, Ancient Motifs.
Full-Text [PDF 3093 kb]   (806 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2019/07/23 | Accepted: 2019/07/23 | Published: 2019/07/23
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Saed Mucheshi A, Rezaie I, Mohajery-Nezhad A, Azizi E. Banquet Beaker; Interpreting an Ancient Object on the Base of Pottery Beakers from Mala Mcha, Kani Koter and Hasanlu. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2019; 3 (7) :43-56
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